Nature Heritage History – A Trip From Hyderabad to Nagarjunasagar

I woke up early in the morning; the car that would take me to Nagarjunasagar hasn’t arrived yet. Its so boring to wait! I decided to stroll around the Taramati Baradari complex where I was staying. Once out I was greeted by the quiet scerene morning sky, the freshness of the greenery all round and song of birds.

Abdullah Qutb Shah, the seventh Sultan of Golkonda, was born in 1614. He became the Sultan at the age of twelve and ruled till 1676. He adored his favourite courtesan Taramati, through the Baradari… Open pavilion with twelve doorways. Here she sang and danced for him. Legends say the Sultan could hear her sing at the Baradari from the Fort.

Located on way to Osman Sagar (Gandipet) at Ibrahimbagh, away from the din and bustle of the city. Yet Taramati Baradari is only 22 km from Hydrabad City. The setting couldn’t be more picturesque. The Golkonda Fort at the backdrop, verdant green canopy all around and of course the Baradari… with its terrace garden.

Even at night the tasteful illumination of the Baradari creates a unique ambience. An amalgam of romance and grace…

The jeep I was waiting for arrived, almost twenty minutes late, giving me ample time to explore the early morning freshness of the Taramati. Within a few minutes my jeep was speeding down Necklace Road. The Hussain Sagar, with the huge Buddha statue at its centre, to our left. The sun was just rising in the east and some young sportsmen, busy rowing in the Hussain Sagar waters.

With the speedometer needle touching 80 Km per hour we entered a State Highway, crossed the Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy and reached Ibrahimpatnam. The city bus plies up to this place. As we progressed further at high speed slowly the din and bustle of city was left behind and we were into the country side. The scenic beauty on either side was a treat for the eyes. Green paddy fields, fruit orchards, poultry farms and occasional long rows of the palm trees. The driver Ramesh, informed the sweet palm juice is used to make. the local sweet ‘gur’ and country liquor. Occasionally our jeep had to stop to let the huge herd of cattles cross the road.

My next stopover was at the first sight of Nagarjunasagar and was fascinated by its beauty. The huge expense of the blue lake surrounded by small and big hills of the Nallamalai range seemed to come out of a picture post card. There were fishermen at the bank mending their round basket shaped bamboo boats- locally called ‘Booty’.

Andhra Pradesh Tourism’s luxurious resort Vijay Vihar is about 151 kms from Hyderabad. If you are clueless about a dream holiday destination, then a short story at Vijay Vihar can make your holiday memorable. The beautiful Nagarjunasagar can be viewed from the balcony of all the rooms. And if you are there on a full moon night, the experience can be magical! The long row of halogen lamps, on the dam, gives the impression of a pearl necklace, at night. The resort is unique in location packed with modern facilities. Nagarjunasagar is a massive irrigation project on River Krishna. At 124 metres it is the tallest masonry dam in the world and one of the largest man made lakes, with an area of 110 sq. miles.

Buddism spread in the Telegu land as early as the 3rd century B.C. as borne out by the stupas in various parts of Andhra Pradesh. Sometimes during the 2nd century A.D. Acharya Nagarjuna founded the ‘Mahayana’ stream of Buddhism and established a centre of learning at Vijaypuri. The capital of the Ikshvaku kings.

The Ikshvaku kings were followers of Brahmanism and performed vedic rituals while, the womenfolk followed Buddhist preaching closely.

From Vijaypuri or ‘Sriparvata’ and Amravati downstream of River Krishna Buddhism spread to the Far East including China, Japan and Sri Lanka.

In the mid 1950’s a major hydro-electric project was planned on River Kirshna at Vijaypuri. It was then found that an ancient Buddhist site would get submerged by the water of Nagarjunasagar. Hence a special project was taken up to excavate the site and transplant the structures to the hill called Nagarjunakonda. As many as 52 villages and about 17700 villagers had to be rehabilitated from the valley also.

The 14 kilometres long road from Vijay Vihar goes over River Krishna, surpasses the lock gates of the dam and reaches the jetty. From here Andhra Pradesh Tourism runs trips to Nagarjunakonda Island. The cruise takes about 45 minutes on the Nagarjunasagar water with the beautiful Nallamalai range all around the lake.

The island of Nagarjunakonda is about 144 acres in area and divided into three parts – the garden, the museum and the monument. The island is as picturesque as one could imagine, with verdant green canopy all around giving the impression of a natural park. The museum is shaped like a vihara and contains precious artefacts of all cultural periods through which the valley has passed. Archeological survey of India’s determined effort virtually transplanted nine monuments from the valley to Nagarjunakonda in almost their original form.

There are other places of interest very close to Nagarjunasagar, Anupu about 8 kilometeres from the jetty, was chosen for relocation of a Buddhist University. The ruins of which were found during excavation in the valley. The reconstruction technique, adopted for the first time in the country, was along the lines of those adopted at Abu Simbel (Aswan Dam) project in Egypt. Anupu is also blessed by his holiness Dalai Lama, who planted a Bodhi tree, during his visit in January 2006. A huge ampi-threatre found during the excavation has been also relocated, opposite the Buddhist University.

The Ethipothala waterfall is 22 kilometres from Nagarjunasagar. Ethipothata in Telegu means ‘lift and pour’. A hill stream Chandravanka cascades down 70 feet to unite with River Krishna. The beautiful george is surrounded by thick greenery all around creating a beautiful picnic spot. The waterfall active throughout the year, has formed a natural lagoon below. A crocodile breeding project has been located here by the Forest Department. In the evening the waterfalls are illuminated with dynamic lighting.

How to go:

The nearest airport and railway station is Hydrabad. The APTDC’s one day ( 7 a.m. – 9.30 p.m.) conducted Nagarjunasagar tour every Saturday and Sunday covers the Dam, Nagarjunakonda, Ethipothala waterfalls. The Mesueum is closed on Fridays.

The APTDC’s Hydrabad city tour covers Taramati Baradari..

However one can also hire a taxi and visit these places.

The best time to go is between October to February.

Where to Stay;

The Best place to stay at Nagarjunasagar is Vijay Vihar

Budget tourist can also opt for Nagarjuna Resort.

Cottages are available at Ettipotala Water Falls.